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January 4, 2021 33 min

my dream

 

I see you like this:

you clutch the tiny warm ball

of a new brown field-mouse.

pressing it into the warmth of your

scented neck

where your hair bends gently in to

brush your careful fingers...

 

it is cold outside,

and your breath moves slowly

away:

clouds of warmth

in the snow-white sunlight,

your words of comfort, your

essence atomized,

released

 

and later,

if the mists linger in the

year-old plow-valleys

whispering, "It's alright...

All is not cold and hunger,"

you will still be there,

warm.

 

It is only a dream I have,

a dream in which I am

helpless and

nestled in your neck.

***************

 

in her bed

our daughter has had her one more story,

her one more drink,

and dreams the part of herself that we never see.

 

In our living room

we have a movie running,

the Canadian Rockies of the early 17th century shift

in some conflict involving

intimate campfire reds, steel-blue glacial arms

cradling white, and silver-gray aspen groves to move

your intent eyes... I chose the movie this time.

 

The couch is long enough for us both

as I watch this light playing upon your nightgown

it is more deadly than second-hand smoke:

the Canadian Rockies

moving in the lines of your face, the folds

of your clothing.

I am kneading these silver trout you lay across my lap in this

stream we make of our bodies.

I will lay you in the winter glow of aspens

and smooth the clothing from your skin

so you can warm by our fire---

night-breath bristling the

invisible down

of your neck, fanning the glow

of your eyes.

*****************

 

Alone for a Week

 

I've been shuffling

around the house in my thin moccasins

not bothering to turn on lights

or to use dishes, it is quiet

except for the purr of our neighbor's

mowing his homogenous grass in the last

moments of twilight;

the house is dark except for the night-lights

I haven't unplugged in our daughters'

rooms--- those lights

supposed to chase the shadows away,

as though it weren't light that created shadow.

 

At intervals, I wander into the family room, stare at

the couch, then the blank TV. I am

grabbing at the tail-end of the hour

as it slips around the clock in the corner and my

hands close around still air.

 

I wonder how long it will take for me

to use up all the air that spent at least some time

in your lungs, moving through your throat and

spilling over your lips?

 

I know enough to know that I'm not going to get any work

done tonight. I can't let go of the clock

long enough to get lost in some of this stuff you left so I could

complete, undisturbed.

 

But I don't think I like being undisturbed

or passing by the orange glow from

our daughters' rooms;

and suddenly as my neighbor completes his last lap across his

grass, the evening has gone deaf

and I know fully that silence is a taking away of

something, a loss.

 

Were I single like one of my friends, perhaps

I would use my dishes and fold the laundry

seeing how these things all have places in the week,

maybe I would throw open the windows to let

today's air in, but in your absence I find that

silence and darkness have new names

and don't whisper, or rise and fall beside me.

The thinness of these moccasins reminds me of the

ground and my weight upon it---

that I'm still here.

***************

 

 

Midnight & The Tall House

after Williams

 

I

Hard, dark night

open wide,

our yellow window light

addresses trees, shaping

canopies to hide the grass

beneath,

 

where crickets wing a song.

 

Not long

we're held this way,

you & I,

a sort of gray

haven hedged by

black sky, black soil,

black cricket

& blacker music rising

in his silver clear wings.

 

II

Wind sweeps out & down, slips over

elm tree, sound

-ing,

       sounding

                       sound

& rounding out the dark.

 

To know

the park is sleeping, slide &

swing inert;

to know

the dove wing

covers doveling heads

in eaves above,

 

this is love,

feathered night pulled

past our eyes,

nest full,

sky lanterns

winking dull,

 

soft wind rocking

broad bough, stretching

closer every pane of glass.

 

III

Outside, below us

the sun is forgotten,

the impatiens are muted, drooping

down to ground

& dirt & dung & earthworm,

showing quiet colors:

 

earth colors, night

colors,

browns, dull rust,

their thrust toward sky

forsaken.

 

Inside, we trust

diminished sight,

open-palmed,

eyes held wide, ears alive.

Touching, twining

spinning colors out of night

-wool,

wind-rhythm,

skin-scent:

 

impatient love.

****************

 

with sheryl, outside centennial wyoming

 

open range

long grass full moon

haloing clouds blue

shoulder of mountains

 

two rails catch the moon

wind through the grass

silver lines, disjoined

except in the moon's touch

 

we are small tonight

our words almost too quiet

to pass between us

but something in the luminescence

of your skin

your eyes

the seed swaying heavy

around us on its stem

makes sense

of what is still dark

 

we shine

where this moon

rides us

where we're worn smooth

with shared use

****************

 

old camp blue

 

your laugh

is music on bark,

on leaf

 

spilling over rocks,

around crags of old boulders

between shadows

of aspen of birch of

pine

 

on a mat of needles,

your eyes and mine

are windows

too small for looking

only---

 

the fallen spruce,

half wood half powder

and you and I

go to dust, elemental

 

making love

of sun

and stone

and leaf

and laughing

as a swelling of clouds

goes dark

with summer rain

*****************

 

Behind My Back

For Sheryl

 

She says things behind my

back

I have caught her

on occasion,

stepped around a

corner

as she mentioned

my name

 

her lips as familiar

with it

as her own

 

each time

my status is changed:

they look at me

with her eyes

 

Today

I'll tell her

to her face,

 

Thank-you

****************

 

As Night Approaches

 

I watch the sky

drain from bright blue

to purple

and finally into

deep violet

streaked with bits

of red

 

She is behind me inside the

house

washing up after dinner

 

 

Clink, clank

plate on plate

and her humming

soft, sure

happy

are the only sounds

as night falls

 

 

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